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Exercises That Don't Work Traps/Neck?

Hi everyone

Because of a bulging disk in my neck i can’t do exercises that work on my traps or anything that works on my neck. :frowning: That means i can’t do…

presses for shoulders (military, seated,etc…), deadlifts, bent-over rows, shrugs, upright rows,… So i’m very limited in exercices for my shoulders and back.

Can anyone (with experience or knowledge) help my by telling which back/shoulder exercises don’t work my traps or my neck? (could i do pull-ups with a suppinated or neutral grip, etc…)

Thank you very much in advance!

Take care!

Front/Lateral/Rear dumbbell raises hit the deltoids and shouldn’t affect the traps much or at all.

Thanks for your reply!

Correct me if i’m wrong :slight_smile: but don’t rear lateral raises hit the traps?
Also, when doing lateral raises at the moment (i hope this will fade away after a couple of months) it bothers my neck afterwards… but front raises don’t seem to give any probs! :slight_smile:


I’m not sure why you ‘can’t’ do an exercise that works your traps. Who told you this? It may not be the traps that are the problem. If you had a bulging disc below C4 creating a nerve compression the traps are okay. They are innervated by a cranial nerve (spinal accessory) which has no proximity to the cervical spine. It may also have contribution from the upper c-spine nerve roots 3-4. If your ‘bulging disc’ is below this, the traps are not the issue, specific movements/actions are.

The second you hold a weight in your hands, the traps are working to maintain scapular position.

Do whatever doesn’t aggravate your symptoms.

Hi olifter1

Thank you very much for your reply

It was my doctor who told me not to do any overhead presses/movements or anything that works the traps. :frowning: The tension of the traps on my neck would trigger the compression to the bulging disc and the nerve.

But the bulging disc is indeed below C4 (C5-6 are very slightly out of the normal position bulging disc). (Before the cervical traction) whenever i held my chin down, a tingling sensation went through my arms because of the nerve compression. Also after training shoulders or back i felt it harder…

But if you’re sure, i could give it a shot by starting with very light weights within a few weeks.